50mm f1.8D AF Nikkor Worth Getting?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by victorwei, May 21, 2008.

  1. I have noticed quite a bit of praise for the above lens in this forum to make me
    wonder if I should add this lens to my current collection of Nikon 18-200 VR and
    Sigma 10-20mm lenses for my D60. Is the clarity of this lens noticeably better
    than my current lenses? If so, does anyone have photos to share to demonstrate
    the difference? If the difference is subtle, then I would rather put the $100
    in my piggy bank towards my future D300. Thanks in advance.
  2. For the $100, it is indeed a very useful lens to have... but it will NOT autofocus on your D60, since it doesn't have a built-in AF motor like your other two lenses. For a standard-length prime lens that CAN peform on your camera, the Sigma 30/1.4 is a popular choice... but quite a bit more expensive. The 50/1.8 will work very well on your future D300, but may be a little frustrating on a body like the D60, if you're trying to use it in lower light (when you can't as easily see to precisely focus through the viewfinder... and that's exactly when you're most likely to use that lens wide open for speed, and that's when the depth of field is the most shallow, and when focus is the most critical!).
  3. Thanks for your quick feedback, Matt. I believe my D60 has a built-in range finder in the viewfinder that will help me obtain accurate manual focusing. Do you think that feature will reduce my frustration? Will I notice significant improvement from this lens over my others?
  4. Yes, the focus indicator in the view finder will help you determine if you're in focus... but I find that having to keep my eye on that indicator takes my eye away from the subject. Now, in a more static shooting situation (say, on a tripod shooting a portrait), that's pretty workable.

    The 50/1.8 is indeed quite sharp, though when stopped down to around f/5.6 orf/8, you might have a hard time telling the difference between that and your 18-200 when it's set to 50mm. A lot of that will depend on your shooting technique and circumstances of the shot. The 18-200's VR can do things that the f/1.8 can help with anyway, but conversely, the f/1.8 can do things your other lenses simly can't. Probably the most noticeable thing would be the ability to get your backgrounds nicely out of focus when you feel the need. Your 10-20 (as I'm sure you've noticed) has what feels like nearly infinite depth of field because of the very short focal lengths, and the fact that it starts out at f/4 (I use and like that lens very much, but it's meant for very different circumstances than the 50mm).

    I've been very happy with the 50mm. and if I knew I wanted to shoot something at that focal length, and had time to juggle lenses and wasn't feeling the need for the VR, I'd absolutely mount up the prime lens over the 18-200 (ANOTHER lens that I have, and also use regularly!).

    If you're willing to grapple with the less convenient focusing situation for now, you'd probably be glad to have the 50 for certain types of shots. Once you have the D300, you'll be all the more glad you have it.

    What sort of subjects are you shooting?
  5. Victor, the two lenses you currently have are not bad lenses, and cover quite a large range. But neither one of them is fast. (3.5-5.6 and 4-5.6) The 50 f/1.8 is essentially the cheapest low light lens solution currently available, and it is very good. On a D60, which is a DX camera, the lens is useful as a lens for candid shots and casual portraits. With this lens, you can achieve plenty of background blur, which is pleasing in portraits.

    At f/8, this lens is shockingly sharp. It is sharper than my $1700 24-70 f/2.8. Of course its somewhat soft at f/1.8, but then in situations in which you would use f/1.8, that's not nearly as much of a problem.
  6. And I tested it time ago on my previous D200; the lenses I found sharper than my 17-55/2.8 at portraiture distances were this one (50/1.8AFD) and the Micro 55/2.8AiS. I have never used your lenses but is easy to think that it will be a better performer.
  7. The 50mm 1.8d is absolutely worth getting for the hundred bucks. It is very sharp at any aperture above 2, and of course still pretty good at 2 and 1.8. But more importantly the 50mm 1.8 has the extra control over DOF because of the larger aperture. There are photos that your 18-200 simply cannot take because it does not have the same DOF capabilties as the 50mm 1.8.

    It will be the most productive hundred dollars you ever spend on camera gear!
  8. Another vote for the 50mm f1.8. I'm keen on 'flower-pictures' and I find that at f2.2 the background is blurred just the right amount. Enough to suggest the environment because I really dislike the current taste for backgrounds that look as if they have been 'guassian blurred' in photoshop. Buy the lens and you will be surprised how much you use it.

    As has been said, at f8 it's sharpness is legendary. cheers Graham
  9. When you guys say that the 50 f1.8 is around 100 USD, are you talking about new or used? In japan it costs around 180 USD and around 150 USD for a used one. Also the hood is sold separately. By the way, the hood (HR2 I think) is it rubber, plastic or metal? Thanks! Rene'
  10. If you want/need a short fast tele for DX then get a 50mm f1.8. If not then save your money for a D300. Its a great value if you use it, its a paper weight if you don't. IMHO you should purchase to fill a need and not because its a high value.
  11. Spoiled by zooms I find the 50mm F1.8 a little on the boring side and of limited usefulness.
    With digital cameras starting at ISO 200 and quite capable of going to ISO 800 with little
    loss of picture quality the need for a high speed lens is diminished. My old 28-50mm
    Nikkor AIS zoom is more useful, sharper, better made and focusses into the macro range.
  12. I have had the lens for over 10 years and have some thoughts. It's main advantage is in very low light, such as at night or inside dim buildings (think Cathedrals.) I do not normally carry this lens with me unless I have a specific need for it. As for sharpness, if you aren't using a tripod you usually will not see a difference in sharpness between lenses. Since you are using a VR lens, my thinking is you will get sharper photos with that rather than the 50mm if you aren't using a tripod. The reason is the VR really does work and makes a noticeable improvement in sharpness with most kinds of photos.

    You are going about this whole thing exactly backwards, by the way. About the worst thing you can do is start buying photo gear because someone on an internet message board says it's great. You will quickly end up with a bunch of stuff you rarely use and not have money for the stuff you actually would use. I think eveyone starting out has made this mistake.

    Here's how you decide what to buy. You look at your photos, and analyze them. What kinds of photos are you NOT getting that you want to take? What do you want new photo gear to do that your current gear won't do? You talk about sharpness. No, the 50mm isn't likely to be sharper than your VR lens is when hand held. If you want maximum sharpness, I suggest you buy a tripod. The tripod will make a bigger difference in sharpness than the D300. Easily. Have you really thought through buying a D300? What do you expect it to do that your D60 won't? What do you expect a $1,700 D300 to do that a D80 replacement (D90?) won't do for $700 less?

    Really, no one can tell you if any lens, tripod, or camera will do what you want because you gave no clue what kinds of photos you take. That is the key--you start with your photos, not posts on a message board. Since you yourself really don't know what you would do with a 50mm, that's a pretty strong indication that no, you don't need one. If you were to write, "I take photos of abandoned warehouse interiors, at night, and my current lens won't get the shot even when I ramp up to ISO 1600, what do I need?"---then I would probably start talking to you about f1.8 and faster lenses.

    As I said earlier, I do have the 500mm f1.8. Despite being a night photographer, I rarely use it now that I can get ISO 800 and even ISO 1600 out of the latest digital camera bodies.

    --->Don't ever buy photo gear UNLESS you clearly have a need for it.
    (Otherwise you go broke fast.)

    Kent in SD
  13. Another vote for the 50. It is an excellent way improve you images. I may be biased because a 50 is what I learned on. Slap it on the camera and walk around town with a single intent in you mind. (shallow DOF, motion, reflections, etc.) It forces you to think about composition and helped me move away from snapshots.

    I will also put in a vote for you to not buy a d300. Step away from the camera body race. The D60 is nearly brand new. Work it for a while. Make your next camera purchase in a couple of years the successor to the d300. IMHO a d60 with a good variety of quality lenses and good flash or two is a much better investment than a d300 with an 18-200.

    In the meantime do as another poster mentioned think about what you can't with your current setup and work in that direction.
  14. WOW! "As I said earlier, I do have the 500mm f1.8."

    That must be a humongous lens! :)

  15. Hello,

    This is a wonderful lens and for $120 (BH) it is a remarkable value. I have used it with my D70 & and now with my D300. You will love it because it is .... fast, brings more light to your eyes than you are used to, tack sharp, small, light weight, balances well, dirt cheap for the quality, DOF, out of focus rendition is attractive (bokeh), focuses close, fits into your pocket, makes a very good portait and throws like a hard ball in a defensive position. You will love it.

    Best, Doug
  16. I really appreciate all of the above well-balanced advice.

    Currently, I mostly shoot landscape and occasionally indoor without flash as well as macro. As I found shooting indoor without flash and most of my macro shots of flowers (with a tripod) did not turn out as sharp as one would hope from a 10MP Nikon SLR using the current lenses, I am beginning to think that perhaps I need a prime lens such as the 50mm f1.8 to do the job. Based on most of the comments above, this lens seems to be a worthwhile investment (in light of the relatively affordable price).

    I particularly value the comments on holding off investing on a D300 as my D60 is relatively new technology. As such, I will likely wait for the new successor for either the D80 or D300 to arrive before committing on an upgrade.

    As a last note, I find this forum is the best place for photographers (experienced or novice) to share collective wisdom so all of us can learn and celebrate the joy of photography. Thank you all again for taking time out to respond.
  17. Sharper than, better than your existing lenses? Try shooting them at f/1.8. At this aperture range, the contest is pretty one-sided. If you want to control depth-of-field in-camera, not with some post-processing trickery, then at least one f/one-point-something lens should be in your bag, and at about 100 Dollars, it is hard to beat the 50mm f/1.8 AF Nikkor. FWIW, I have about three decades of Nikon use, and every lens in the Nikon line-up from 20mm to 300mm for my film cameras. When I started to explore digital, I got the D40 and the kit lens. I was able to mount all of my lenses to the D40, but I had to meter manually, so I got a 50mm f/1.8 AF lens to have that speed over the kit lens. Even with this being my 5th 50mm Nikkor (behind all of my manual focus versions), it was more than worth it to be able to set my D40 to aperture priority and just shoot. Much has been made of the manual focus "problems" with the (low-end) D-series cameras, but I have been able to get consistant focus via the in-focus dot with my D40, and your D60 is said to have a better electric range finder. You might not be shooting quick changing action shots with this set up, but it is effective for many subjects. You asked for a photo, so here is one taken at f/1.8 from the 50mm lens. If you like selective focus and a nice compact package, this lens will deliver.
  18. ... And one more, where the wide f-stop allowed me to isolate the subject in a way that the zoom would not. This motorcycle was parked while I was out shooting, so I used the 50mm to snap it while softening the busy background with shallow DOF.
  19. sample - 50mm F1.8 AF on a d300
  20. Yes, get one, you'll never outgrow it. It will never get cheaper - a mindlessly good
  21. It's a nice, fast dinner-table lens. This shot had the help of a strobe, but it was at f/1.8 in order to get around the problem of an otherwise too busy-looking table.
  22. Well worth $100. I was lucky enough to find a used one for $85 in mint as-new condition with box and papers. I can't see a difference in quality between it and a 30 year old Nikon 50mm f1.8 AI lens I bought used for $27 however...
  23. Here's a radical suggestion. Since you will be manually focusing, why not get a used 35/2.0 MF? Better lens than the 50/1.8, better suited for landscape, and you can pick one up on Ebay for around $150.
  24. I needed a faster lens than my 18-200 for shooting portraiture primarily indoors...grandkids, pets, etc. I looked at many reviews on the net for recommendations and the 50mm prime at f1.8 looked like it might fit what I needed. It does. Another plus is that the lens does encourage correct composition and helps build good camera skills. I have found that zooms -can- sometimes lead to getting a little lazy ;-)

    Agree that any lens purchase should be based upon actual need. Otherwise a lot of money can be spent needlessly. Of course this lens is very inexpensive (relatively) I spent $110 for mine on Amazon. I love this little lens! Hard to go wrong with this lens IF there is a need for a faster lens in this focal length. Works beautifully on a D300. I like shooting indoors with this lens with no flash and it excels at this. Of course I have used it outdoors with nature photography including some close-up work as well and it produced some wonderful images so a very flexible lens IMHO. It has really made me appreciate what a good fast prime lens will do. No way would I be without a 50mm prime now...and the price really seals the deal.

    BTW this lens is not really a macro lens. It does produce beautiful bokeh but does not provide magnification to 1:1 so if that is a priority then possibly a 105 or something like that may be in order.

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